1. Follow the journalist, not the publication or outlet: Most journalists have their own social media accounts giving you a better shot at getting your message directly in front of them.
2. Be sure that the person you are sending a message to is the correct person to receive it: This is important! Like anything it's important to know your audience. You don't want to pitch a theater writer a business story, so do your homework and make sure that you are contacting the correct person and the right media outlet. Once you find that person interact with them on their content without pushing your agenda. They will be more likely to pay attention.
3. Hit industry trades first: A great way to get some quick wins and to establish yourself within your industry is to connect with trade publications specific to your industry, audience and your customer-base. If you have a consumer product, make that your second tier approach. Once you can show some industry interest (post it on your online press room), then you can prove a track record of interest, but remember, your pitch to the industry and to the consumer are two different messages.
4. Post your press release online: On Twitter, in particular, you have limited space to say what you want to say, so post your pitch with a link to your online press room or to the place you have posted it to online (i.e. a variety of free or paid online press release distributions).
5. Have a story: I had a blog that I continue to receive pitches from PR people for. I hate to say it, but most of them are terrible. There's no news and it's not relevant to my blog (again, know your audience). They immediately go in the trash and I can't imagine anyone is actually picking up these stories. They just are newsworthy, timely or compelling. Why is your news so compelling? What does it mean? and define the Why!
6. Think in headlines: Headlines are around us everywhere, every day. Good PR people are always thinking in headlines. Keep your pitch short and sweet; a tease. You have one chance to get it right. If you can't get out what you want to say in less than 140 characters, and with a link to your press release, go back over it until you can create that impactful headline that will catch their attention. For ideas, pick up the newspaper or a magazine and flip through just the headlines. Does something catch your attention? Why?
- New product gives elderly, those with disabilities, dexterity issues dignity again bit.ly/TcEJMV #seniors #disabilities
- Finally, a ""typical" retail exp for parents of kids w #developmentaldisorders: #TheSensoryKidsStore @BellybumMom http://www.bellybumboutique.com/press-releases.html
- What student athletes can learn from Lance Armstrong, A-Rod. Expert, author gives real-life tips http://becomingatruechampion.com/PressRoom.htm
- Contract worker #'s to reach all-time high in 2013. New site makes it easy for #contractors/employers to connect http://www.vouchedin.com/index/news
8. Give them a shout out: If a journalist does pick up your story and runs it then be sure to give them a warm shout out on Twitter and a big thanks! Everyone appreciates a warm and fuzzy for others to see.
9. Don't SPAM media over social media: This one sure way to NEVER get action on your story. Be thoughtful, respectful and considerate. Send something to them once a week for a few weeks and trust that they will contact you if interested. If they don't it means that you haven't met the list of things above. Give it a rest, then a tweak and try again.
10. Free services: There are a few great free services and Tweeps you should follow to increase your reach;
- #MyStorySource - you can follow @MyStorySource and post your story pitch to the hashtag. Great way to practice and refine your headline creation and pitching skills. You can post three times a day every day. A number of top media follow the feed including USA Today, Newsweek, Ny Times, US News Money, WGN-TV, ChannelOne, Forbes, Crain's Chicago and San Antonio Express-News, along with many freelance writers and bloggers.
- @HelpAReporter and @ProfNet on Twitter often post queries from media looking for sources. Worth signing up for their email newsletters.